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Bigelow Aerospace Space Stations

FutureSpaceTourist

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Bigelow Aerospace has done a major website update: www.bigelowaerospace.com

Here's a description of the construction sequence for a planned LEO space station:

We anticipate construction of our first space station to begin with a Sundancer launched in early 2014, and that by 2015 the station will be available for client use.

  • The seven-step assembly sequence begins with Sundancer-One launched first (unoccupied).
  • Bigelow Aerospace astronauts arrive in a commercial crew capsule to set up Sundancer-one and bring supplies.
  • Supplemental power bus and docking node arrive.
  • Sundancer-two arrives.
  • Second crew arrives with supplies.
  • BA330 on approach for docking.
  • Third commercial crew capsule arrives with supplies.
Graphics of each of the seven stages are attached.
 

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FutureSpaceTourist

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To get an idea just how big the Bigelow Aerospace modules are, look at these ISS module comparison pictures.

The 330 in BA330 means 330 cubed metres of volume ... Sundancer has 180 m^3.

Correction edit: it's 330 cubed metres (330 metres, cubed, would be truely enormous!)
 

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FutureSpaceTourist

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Robert Bigelow's ambitions are not limited to LEO stations, lunar bases are also being seriously considered for the future. See article at http://www.space.com/businesstechnology/private-moon-bases-bigelow-aerospace-100414.html and attached pictures. The last two pictures are a few years old now.

P.S. Sorry, forgot about the separate inflatable space habitats thread at http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,6431.0.html. However, given the active development by Bigelow, I think it warrants its own thread.
 

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ouroboros

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One would think it would be somewhat disadvantageous to have a Bigelow module on its side on the moon, due to gravity and the necessary core column/post, but I guess they don't like having to haul around a tall object, and if the core column is wide enough, it should be usable at human walking heights.
 

FutureSpaceTourist

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Yes, obviously putting in floor(s) will be key to make maximum use of the available volume. In terms of the structural support/core column I wonder if they have some flexibility over its size/placement? I'd certainly expect that they've considered that issue in their design, for the lunar proposal to be serious!
 

FutureSpaceTourist

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Here's an article on a visit by Robert Bigelow to Decatur, which has a ULA plant.

One item leaps out:

All of that money is private investment, and he [Bigelow] added that in a few weeks, he will announce six countries that will be Bigelow’s first customers.
Six countries signing up for Bigelow stations really would be big news! Of course he has some way to go before that point but I believe some critics of Bigelow have questioned whether there's really a market for his stations (even accepting that they're technically achievable).

Another interesting note in the article too:

Though Bigelow is not using federal funding to launch his programs, he said politics is the biggest obstacle to their success. Station launches and operations fall under the Federal Aviation Administration, but he said he could go outside the United States and use Russian rockets and launch from other countries, such as Japan.
 

RanulfC

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ouroboros said:
One would think it would be somewhat disadvantageous to have a Bigelow module on its side on the moon, due to gravity and the necessary core column/post, but I guess they don't like having to haul around a tall object, and if the core column is wide enough, it should be usable at human walking heights.
If you look closely at the last comparison picture of the BA-330, Sundancer and the "aluminum-can" module you'll note a person actually standing "in" the core of the BA-330. I seem to recall that full inflation pressure and lunar gravity would allow the module to "stand" even if no center column was present but that might be mis-remembering.

I'm kind of guessing but it would seem that Bigelow went with the "horizontal" lay out due to the size of the Sundancer module. As I recall you want all decks to have a "least-distance-to-the-airlock" standard to allow people to evacuate in a hurry. Since the column in the SD looks too small for allowing human passage, the horizontal layout of the decks allow access of the "top" and "bottom" decks to the mid-deck and airlock in one move.

Vertical layout without a human column passage would mean those on the "top" (furthest away from the docking hatch) had to pass through BOTH the mid-deck and "bottom" deck hatches to reach the airlock. That of course wouldn't be as much of an issue with the larger column of the BA-330.

Randy
 

FutureSpaceTourist

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BA seem to be making steady progress, there's a press release at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2010/10/prweb4667824.htm about forthcoming life support systems tests with people. 2015 is still the target launch date for their first manned space station module (Sundancer).

The start of the press release is:

Bigelow Aerospace LLC, LasVegas, NV, has begun the process of human rating its Environmental Control and Life Support System. The contained volume humans in the loop testing is in preparation for the 2015 launch of Sundancer - an expandable module approximately 27ft long, 22ft in diameter, with an internal volume of 180m3 and supports a crew of three. When completed, the process will have demonstrated the life support system's ability to safely support a crew of three persons for extended durations.

Company owner Robert T. Bigelow commented, "These tests are an initial foundation that verifies safety and performance of our systems. This validation process gives our customers and ourselves confidence that we are heading in the right direction and our flight systems will be safe and reliable. The development of our modules is progressing and should align with the development of commercial crew transportation. The tests are being conducted at the facilities of Orbital Technologies Corporation (ORBITEC) in Madison, Wisconsin." Bigelow Aerospace LLC, LasVegas, NV, has begun the process of human rating its Environmental Control and Life Support System. The contained volume humans in the loop testing is in preparation for the 2015 launch of Sundancer - an expandable module approximately 27ft long, 22ft in diameter, with an internal volume of 180m3 and supports a crew of three. When completed, the process will have demonstrated the life support system's ability to safely support a crew of three persons for extended durations.

Company owner Robert T. Bigelow commented, "These tests are an initial foundation that verifies safety and performance of our systems. This validation process gives our customers and ourselves confidence that we are heading in the right direction and our flight systems will be safe and reliable. The development of our modules is progressing and should align with the development of commercial crew transportation. The tests are being conducted at the facilities of Orbital Technologies Corporation (ORBITEC) in Madison, Wisconsin."
 

FutureSpaceTourist

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Bigelow's potential initial customers have been revealed:

[quote author=http://www.space.com/businesstechnology/private-space-station-first-clients-101019.html]
A private space company offering room on inflatable space habitats for research has found a robust international market, with eager clients signing up from space agencies, government departments and research groups.

Space entrepreneur Robert Bigelow, chief of Bigelow Aerospace, has been busy marketing his private space modules, an outreach effort leading to six deals being signed with clients this year.

The deals, in the form of memorandums of understanding, involve Japan, the Netherlands, Singapore, Sweden, Australia and the United Kingdom.

[...]

A question that continues to float through the halls of NASA and the Congress: Is there a commercial market for utilizing space?

"We've got a very certain and loud answer to that. Not only is there a commercial market, but it's a one that's robust and global," said Michael Gold, director of Washington, D.C., operations and business growth for Bigelow Aerospace.

The memorandums have been signed with what Gold said the firm terms as "sovereign clients" – the result of a relatively modest effort to pulse "international astronautics opportunities" with countries large and small.

Bigelow said what they have found is a hunger by clients to do activities in space far beyond just microgravity experimentation.

"That is what this new leasing guide is going to expose," Bigelow said. "It's encouraging to see the enthusiasm. They all have different reasons, different ways in which they see using our facilities — what I call 'dynamic assets' in the new leasing guide — to benefit them. It can change the face of a nation."
[/quote]

The UK is a surprise!
 

FutureSpaceTourist

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Today is the first day of the 2010 International Symposium on Personal and Commercial Spaceflight (ISPCS 2010). Bigelow Aerospace are attending and have an interesting exhibition stand.

Jeff Foust has tweeted a couple of pictures (attached) of the stand:

[quote author=http://twitter.com/jeff_foust]
  • Bigelow Aerospace has an interesting exhibit at #ISPCS, with some new module and station concepts: http://yfrog.com/ngg34ssj
  • Closeup of a model of the Bigelow Aerospace BA2100, with over 6 times the volume of the BA330: http://yfrog.com/bb8flj
[/quote]

Furthermore Doug Messier has the following post with several more pictures (just a couple attached).

No one could accuse Bigelow of thinking small!
 

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Eagle2009

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Did I read correctly that the larger module seen on display says "BA 2100"? Does that mean it has 2100 cubic feet of space? That would indeed be a big module!
 

ouroboros

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BA2100 requires a 100MT 8m fairing LEO launcher?!? Ouch. Though the VP guy talked a 70MT 6-7m fairing smaller version, which puts it near Ares V and Delta-IV heavy. Though if they are that far into dream HLV's, might as well trot out a Sea Dragon...
 

FutureSpaceTourist

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ouroboros said:
Though if they are that far into dream HLV's, might as well trot out a Sea Dragon...
Of course Congress has now instructed NASA to build an HLV. As there's currently no actual need for an HLV they don't really have a requirement to size it - might as well use the BA2100 as the requirement :)

P.S. I know the NASA authorisation bill didn't go to 100 MT, but hey what does Congress know about building HLVs ... !
 

FutureSpaceTourist

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It appears that production of the Sundancer is being dropped and Bigelow are going to produce the BA 330 as their first manned module:

[quote author=http://www.bigelowaerospace.com]
Bigelow Aerospace Expediting BA 330 Development

Due to customer demand and progress in commercial crew transportation, Bigelow Aerospace has moved directly to BA 330 development. As the name indicates, the BA 330 will provide roughly 330 cubic meters of usable volume and can support a crew of up to six. The BA 330 can function as an independent space station, or several BA 330s can be combined to support an even larger orbital complex. "It's extremely exciting to proceed with the actual construction of BA 330s," said Robert T. Bigelow, President and founder of Bigelow Aerospace, "This robust habitat will serve as the backbone for a new, dynamic era of commercial human spaceflight. The BA 330 will support a wide variety of utilization and exploration missions both in Low Earth Orbit and beyond. "
[/quote]
 

Demon Lord Razgriz

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Attaching a BA220 to ISS? :eek:

Can't wait to see it. :) That might just allow for an eventual purchase of ISS by private companies when all the nations decide to vacate it in 2016(or have they changed that again?)!
 

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Bigelow to orbit BA330 on Atlas V in 2020.

https://spaceflightnow.com/2016/04/11/atlas-5-to-launch-commercial-space-habitat-for-bigelow-aerospace/

The maker of inflatable technology for a commercial space station will use a top-of-the-line Atlas 5 rocket with a stretched nose cone to hoist the first habitat into Earth orbit in 2020....

The Atlas 5 rocket will fly in the 552 configuration with five side-mounted solid boosters, a twin-engine Centaur upper stage and an 87-foot-long, 18-foot-diameter payload fairing with over 50 feet of usable cargo room, the most capable variant of the vehicle available.
 

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Flyaway

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Bigelow Aerospace and United Launch Alliance Announce Agreement to Place a B330 Habitat in Low Lunar Orbit

Las Vegas, NV and Centennial, Colo. (Oct. 17, 2017) – Bigelow Aerospace and United Launch Alliance (ULA) are working together to launch a B330 expandable module on ULA’s Vulcan launch vehicle. The launch would place a B330 outfitted module in Low Lunar Orbit by the end of 2022 to serve as a lunar depot.

“We are excited to work with ULA on this lunar depot project,” said Robert Bigelow, president of Bigelow Aerospace. “Our lunar depot plan is a strong complement to other plans intended to eventually put people on Mars. It will provide NASA and America with an exciting and financially practical success opportunity that can be accomplished in the short term. This lunar depot could be deployed easily by 2022 to support the nation’s re-energized plans for returning to the Moon.

"This commercial lunar depot would provide anchorage for significant lunar business development in addition to offering NASA and other governments the Moon as a new exciting location to conduct long-term exploration and astronaut training.”

The B330 would launch to Low Earth Orbit on a Vulcan 562 configuration rocket, the only commercial launch vehicle in development today with sufficient performance and a large enough payload fairing to carry the habitat. Once the B330 is in orbit, Bigelow Aerospace will outfit the habitat and demonstrate it is working properly. Once the B330 is fully operational, ULA’s industry-unique distributed lift capability would be used to send the B330 to lunar orbit. Distributed lift would also utilize two more Vulcan ACES launches, each carrying 35 tons of cryogenic propellant to low Earth orbit. In LEO, all of the cryogenic propellant would be transferred to one of the Advanced Cryogenic Evolved Stage (ACES). The now full ACES would then rendezvous with the B330 and perform multiple maneuvers to deliver the B330 to its final position in Low Lunar Orbit.

“We are so pleased to be able to continue our relationship with Bigelow Aerospace,” said Tory Bruno, ULA’s president and CEO. “The company is doing such tremendous work in the area of habitats for visiting, living and working off our planet and we are thrilled to be the ride that enables that reality.”

Bigelow Aerospace is a destination-oriented company with a focus on expandable systems for use in a variety of space applications. These NASA heritage systems provide for greater volume, safety, opportunity and economy than the aluminum alternatives.

The B330 is a standalone commercial space station that can operate in low Earth orbit, cislunar space and beyond. A single B330 is comparable to one third of the current pressurized volume of the entire International Space Station. Bigelow Aerospace is developing two B330 commercial space station habitats that will be ready for launch any time after 2020.

For more information on Bigelow Aerospace visit www.bigelowaerospace.com. Connect with Bigelow Aerospace at www.facebook.com/bigelowaerospace, www.twitter.com/BigelowSpace and www.instagram.com/bigelowspace.

With more than a century of combined heritage, United Launch Alliance is the nation’s most experienced and reliable launch service provider. ULA has successfully delivered 120 satellites to orbit that provide critical capabilities for troops in the field, aid meteorologists in tracking severe weather, enable personal device-based GPS navigation and unlock the mysteries of our solar system.

For more information on ULA, visit the ULA website at www.ulalaunch.com, or call the ULA Launch Hotline at 1-877-ULA-4321 (852-4321). Join the conversation at www.facebook.com/ulalaunch, twitter.com/ulalaunch and instagram.com/ulalaunch.
 

Flyaway

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Here’s an article including the cost.

Now Bigelow Aerospace proposes sending a much larger version, known as the B330, into orbit around the moon. If NASA goes for it, the $2.3 billion mission would go something like this:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-switch/wp/2017/10/17/heres-how-a-las-vegas-millionaire-plans-to-build-an-orbiting-space-station-for-the-moon/?utm_term=.2640ddab33a6
 

Flyaway

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Bigelow Space Operations Announces it has Reserved up to Four Dedicated SpaceX Launches to the International Space Station

On Friday, June 7, 2019 Bigelow Space Operations (BSO) announced that last September of 2018 BSO paid substantial sums as deposits and reservation fees to secure up to four SpaceX launches to the International Space Station (ISS). These launches are dedicated flights each carrying up to four people for a duration of one to possibly two months on the ISS.

BSO is excited about NASA’s announcements last Friday. BSO has demonstrated its sincerity and commitment to moving forward on NASA’s commercialization plans for the ISS through the execution of last September’s launch contracts. BSO intends to thoroughly digest all of the information that was dispersed last week so that all opportunities and obligations to properly conduct the flights and activities of new astronauts to the ISS can be responsibly performed.

In these early times, the seat cost will be targeted at approximately $52,000,000 per person.

The next big question is when is this all going to happen? Once the SpaceX rocket and capsule are certified by NASA to fly people to the ISS, then this program can begin.

As you might imagine, as they say “the devil is in the details”, and there are many. But we are excited and optimistic that all of this can come together successfully, and BSO has skin in the game.

Robert T. Bigelow

President,

Bigelow Space Operations

Bigelow Aerospace
 

fredymac

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Tour through Bigelow's 330 and 2100 space modules.

Edit: lattice walkways are not present in space and only needed for tours in gravity.
 

Flyaway

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quote]While Bigelow Aerospace’s expandable module, BEAM, continues to perform above all expectations while attached to the International Space Station (ISS), the company has larger ambitions for its range of modules, centered around the B330 – a huge inflatable module. The key focus is on attracting NASA to select B330 as a transportation module for long-duration trips to Mars.[/quote]

 

sferrin

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I'm surprised there isn't any talk of using one of these for NASA's Gateway.
 

coanda

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I'm surprised there isn't any talk of using one of these for NASA's Gateway.
Bigelow recently did an interview where he said that the money on offer for orbiting habs wasn't enough for them to be interested and that their sights had been set on Moon habs, so Gateway could well be in their minds.
 
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